Hanoi – Miss Vietnam 2008 has broken no rules and can keep her crown despite press reports that she faked her high school diploma, government and pageant officials said Friday. “School records do not have anything to do with the participation of the candidates” in the contest, said Duong Xuan Nam, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Tien Phong and head of the organizing board of Miss Vietnam 2008.
Vietnamese newspapers reported Thursday that Tran Thi Thuy Dung, 18, had not graduated from high school after blogs posted images of transcripts and a diploma showing Dung receiving grades in courses classmates said she had dropped. The diploma was signed by the school’s principal.
At a press conference Friday, Nam said that while regulations of Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture and Information require pageant contestants to have graduated from high school, the Miss Vietnam rules permitted candidates who were still studying to enter.
“This is our fault,” Nam said. He said the pageant organizers thought a regulation demanding participants to be high-school graduates had been amended to allow contestants with a “high school education.
“Chu Tien Duc, an official at the government office in charge of cultural issues, said the Miss Vietnam board had violated government regulations and would have to answer to the Ministry of Culture.
But Duc insisted that a review of the profile Dung submitted for the contest showed she “had not been dishonest or deceitful.
“The government’s defence of Dung at the press conference suggested she would not be asked to give up her crown and might be allowed to continue her plans to compete in the Miss World 2008 contest.
But Le Quan Tan, head of the High School Department at the Ministry of Education, objected to allowing a pageant winner with fake credentials to keep her crown.
“You cannot say your education level is high school if you have not graduated,” Tan said. “I’m not sure about this case. But if it’s true, then you don’t deserve the title you have been given.
“In previous years, corruption in Vietnamese schools, including buying of grades and cheat sheets for tests, has been rampant. Since an answer-buying scandal in 2006 in a high school near Hanoi, teachers said corruption has declined.